His nickname was “Stormin’ Norman” reportedly for his quick temper, but retired Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf was also remembered for his swift victory in the first Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm.
Norman’s last post was as head of U.S. Central Command at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base. He retired in the community. The Associated Press reports that Norman died Thursday in Tampa at age 78.
“Soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines of the United States Central Command, this morning at 0300, we launched Operation DESERT STORM, an offensive campaign that will enforce the United Nation’s resolutions that Iraq must cease its rape and pillage of its weaker neighbor and withdraw its forces from Kuwait. My confidence in you is total. Our cause is just! Now you must be the thunder and lightning of Desert Storm. May God be with you, your loved ones at home, and our Country.”
– General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, USA Commander-in-Chief U.S. Central Command, Jan. 16, 1991, prior to the start of the Battle of Ad-Dawrah.
The Washington Post reports that Schwarzkopf — a self-proclaimed political independent — rejected suggestions that he run for office, and remained far more private than other generals, although he did serve briefly as a military commentator for NBC.
While focused primarily in his later years on charitable enterprises, he campaigned for President George W. Bush in 2000 but was ambivalent about the 2003 invasion of Iraq, saying he doubted victory would be as easy as the White House and Pentagon predicted.
Schwarzkopf was born Aug. 24, 1934, in Trenton, N.J. His father was founder and commander of the New Jersey State Police that led the investigation into the Lindbergh kidnapping case.